Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Columbus still the target, does TFC have improved aim?
It is a fact that Columbus Crew were double champs last season. Sometimes I find it hard to keep this information at the forefront of my little mind. It is so easy to drift back to this time last year. I recall driving down to Columbus in 08 with the view that the first assignment facing TFC on the road to improvement was overtaking the Crew. Columbus had finished ahead of Toronto the year before, but were out of the playoff picture. Remember Columbus had been out of the playoffs for a few years prior.
Well, I guess much of that view holds to this day. Overtaking the Crew is still an important TFC goal and a goal that I think is very attainable.
I still scratch my head at how competitive TFC was with Columbus last year, even when you add in the opening game loss. They caught TFC napping in that game. After that there was a stalemate. The two games at BMO, were draws. Hard fought, not much difference between them style of games.
We know that Toronto have upgraded the roster since then. That game in March 08 was the first MLS game for Coach Carver, Brian Edwards and Marco Velez. The TFC starters included Tyler Hemmings, Jeff Cunningham and Collin Samuel. Need I say more?
Few changes have taken place in Columbus, but a significant one in the departure of Sigi Schmid for Seattle. I argue that the loss of Sigi as coach will have a negative impact on them this year. Schelotto and Moreno have skills aplenty and Rogers and Marshall are quality players, but will everything go right for them again in 09? I do not think they will drop much in the standings. They are a solid squad that will give nothing away, but I feel that TFC has a new energy and momentum. It is just one of those hunches that TFC will find the creative spark to defeat the Crew sometime in 09.
Both teams are going into this weekend's game with players missing. It would be foolish to guess which team will suffer more because of it. I think TFC fans have been fuelled by the win in Kansas City. We dare to dream of success in Ohio, but my pragmatic side would be just as happy with a tie on the road.
Today is the day that I start packing for Columbus. I am driving down early Saturday, aiming to leave home at 4 am. I took the Fort Erie route last year and will do it again. WARNING WARNING - Drive the speed limit or very close to it in Ohio. See you in Columbus.
PS The graphic above is from a facebook group of Crew fans who want to change the team logo. I like this improved version. I will write more on it next week.